27 April 2017

A new step in the treatment of paralysis: details

Paralyzed people will be able to control their limbs with the power of thought

Anastasia Krasnianskaya, Geektimes, based on Case Western Reserve University: Man with quadriplegia employs injury bridging technologies to move again—just by thinking

Paralyzed people have a chance to restore limb movement by controlling the power of thought. A group of researchers from Case Western Reserve University has developed the first implantable system for recording brain activity and muscle stimulation, which restores the movement of hands and hands in patients with paralysis.

The system includes a neuro-computer interface with recording electrodes embedded in the skull and functional electrical stimulation (FES). The first person to experience the technology was 56-year-old Cleveland resident Bill Kochevar, who was paralyzed below the shoulders as a result of an accident. With her help, he restored the movement of his arms and hands.


"Our research is at an early stage, but we believe that this neuroprosthesis can offer people with paralysis the opportunity to restore the functions of their hands for daily activities. Now this technology allows a paralyzed person to reach for an object and take it, that is, he can eat and drink. With further development, the technology can give more precise control, expanding the possible range of actions," says the lead author of the study Bolu Ajiboye.

The Kochevar experiment is part of the BrainGate clinical trial program conducted by a consortium of academic and medical institutions evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the neuro—computer interface system in people with paralysis. Other research work within BrainGate has shown that people can control a cursor on a computer screen or a robotic arm.

Jonathan Miller, associate professor of neurosurgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, led a team of surgeons who implanted two 96-channel arrays of electrodes on the surface of the brain. Then they implanted 36 electrodes of FES systems that revitalize the muscles in the upper and lower arm.

Arrays record brain signals when a Kochevar imagines the movement of his hand or arm as a whole. The neurocomputer interface decodes the recorded information from brain signals about what movements he intends to make, and then it is converted by the FES system into patterns of electrical impulses to control the electrical stimulation system.


The pulses sent through the FES electrodes activate the muscles controlling the shoulders, elbows and wrists. To overcome gravity, which otherwise would not allow to raise and extend his hand, Kochevar uses mobile hand support, which is also under the control of his brain.

Before implantation, Kochevar first learned how to use his brain signals to move his hand in virtual reality on a computer screen. As Kochevar's ability to move a virtual arm improved over the next four months of training, the researchers assumed that he would be able to control the arm and hand.

Eight years of muscle atrophy required rehabilitation. The researchers conducted cyclic procedures of electrical stimulation of Kochevar's hand and hand. In 45 weeks, his strength, range of motion and endurance have improved significantly. When he tried to move his arm, the scientists adjusted the stimulation patterns to develop his motor abilities.

Now the patient can force each joint of the right hand to move individually by the power of thought. Or, just thinking about eating or drinking, he brings the muscles into a coordinated movement. When asked to describe how he commands the movement of his hands, Kochevar replied: "I make her move without making much effort. I just think about it and it works."

The researchers note that the achievement required for the technology to be used outside the laboratory is not so far from reality. Work is underway to create wireless implants for the brain, and researchers are also improving the decoding and stimulation schemes necessary for more accurate detection of movements. Fully implantable FES systems have already been developed and are being tested in separate clinical trials.

The BrainGate research technology was originally developed at Brown University in the laboratory of John Donohue, now the founder of the Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuroengineering in Geneva. The implantable recording electrodes, known as Utah arrays, were originally designed by Richard Norman, Professor Emeritus of bioengineering at the University of Utah.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  27.04.2017

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